With everyone in the hockey world all but guaranteeing a sweep for the Los Angeles Kings and a subsequent trip to their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1993, Shane Doan wasn’t quite ready to see his season come to an end.
“He showed why he is one of the top captains in the league,” forward Taylor Pyatt said. “We live to fight another day.”
And fight the Coyotes did. Thanks to Doan’s purpose-driven Game 4 and on the strength of his two goals, the Coyotes were able to avoid a Western Conference finals sweep with a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center Sunday. Doan, who has been with the Phoenix Coyotes ever since they made the trek down from Winnipeg, has never been this close to competing for the Stanley Cup. Not only did his play on the ice back up his desire to continue his quest for hockey’s holy grail, but according to head coach Dave Tippett, it was that same attitude in the locker room that helped motive the rest of the players.
“You don’t see all the things happening behind the scenes, in the dressing room, the inspiration he is to the other guys there, how he cares about this team and winning,” Tippett said. “To do the behind-the-scenes stuff and then to back it up with the on-the-ice stuff, it speaks volumes to who he is.”
Although it wasn’t exactly an offensive outburst from the Yotes, it was key that Doan, who hadn’t scored in five games, get back on the score sheet.
Phoenix is hoping Doan can continue to keep finding the net and goaltender Mike Smith can keep pucks out of the net when the Coyotes take on the Kings in Game 5 Tuesday in the desert.